A new study of Indiana health professionals suggests some are beginning to change their prescribing and dispensing practices in response to prescription drug abuse in their communities, Forbes reports. Researchers found dentists are much less likely than other health professionals to be concerned about prescription drug abuse.
Pharmacists, physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants were more concerned than dentists, the Georgia State University researchers found. They surveyed almost 6,000 health professionals in Indiana. The study revealed the majority said they were very concerned about prescription drug abuse. One-third of respondents said they have changed their prescribing behavior in the past few years. Most said they have reduced the frequency with which they are prescribing painkillers and other addictive substances, the article notes.
A minority of respondents, mainly dentists, said they were relatively unconcerned about prescription drug abuse in their community.
“The most interesting finding, in my opinion, is the remarkable variation in healthcare professionals’ level of concern, both between the major health care professions and within individual professions,” said study author Eric Wright.
“This research underscores the critical importance of engaging health care providers fully in public health efforts to reverse the course of the prescription drug epidemic,” the researchers wrote in Pain Physician Journal.